Last week the challenge was to eat well on a strict budget (if you missed if you can find out what happened here).
Next up I was challenged to turn this on it’s head and only eat convenience food. Often when we’re busy it can seem easier to grab a takeaway, however I wanted to prove there are lots of healthy options you can grab on the go. This is what happened…
- I could only eat things which could be prepared with no more than a microwave, kettle, knife and fork
- I had to have a source of protein and veg or berries with every meal
How I got on
I DID IT!
By relying on pre-cooked meat and fish this was actually easier than I expected. I enjoyed not having to plan meals in advance and doing no cooking for a week.
Breakfast was either a protein shake or porridge with a scoop of protein powder stirred in (relying on this protein powder). Whilst you can make porridge in the microwave I didn’t even do that much cooking and bought it ready cooked. One day I had a slice of rice and sunflower bread and topped it with avocado and slice boiled eggs (bought from Pret, but quite a few supermarkets sell them now as well). We also ate breakfast at a local cafe/diner and I went for an omelette with salad.
Was mainly salad in some way shape and form. Often bought dressings are full of strange ingredients so fresh hummus, guacamole and salsa can be a good alternative.
– pre-cooked chicken/prawns thrown onto salad with vine leaves or fruit as carb
– a salad from the Wholefoods salad bar
– a platter of smoked mackerel, veg sticks and gerkins
One day I also had a thai chicken curry with rice from Leon
Dinner is often eaten on the go, but by careful ordering you can make healthy picks
– salad platter with prawns (asked for no bread)
– ham, egg and salad in a pub (swapped the chips for salad)
– sushi (focused on the sashimi and ordered some seaweed)
– chicken, salad and corn from Nandos
When at home I ate
– tapas platter of cured meat, veg and sheeps cheese
– a bought salad bowl with pre-cooked prawns, vine leaves and hummus
– microwave pack of veg with tomatoes and a piece of pre-cooked salmon (you could add some torn fresh herbs, oil and lemon)
– a microwave pack of veg, with microwaved rice noodles, pre-cooked prawns and some soy sauce made a super fast stir fry.
Other options for dinner could be to buy a rotisserie chicken, cook potatoes/sweet potatoes in the microwave or buy the packs of pre-cooked rice/quinoa.
I mainly relied on fruit or bars, but I also had coconut yoghurt, popcorn and a Graze snack pack.
Caveats for those sticklers for detail amongst us
- I’m not saying this is the healthiest diet possible – no it isn’t organic, yes things are packaged in plastic, yes I used a microwave. However, it is still a vast improvement on most convenient microwave meals!
- We all need different ratios of food, so whilst this suits me fairly well some people may, for example, need more/less carb or fat.
- Whilst I’m confident whole foods will always be better than packaged options, I haven’t worked out every last micro nutrient. If you were going to try and stick to this budget every week I would choosing different foods each week to increase the variety. For one week this does give a good balance of protein, fat and fibre.